I've been going to LFNS' Sunday Stroll for a few years now, an organised street skate usually of around 8 miles in London. Today however I was a little apprehensive about it because I was to attempt to run the route instead.
My friends' Ash and Gib have done this before. I remember I thought they were crazy. Guess I've lost my marbles too!
My motivation was the Berlin Double later next month. In an attempt to replicate the same stresses of that weekend I covered a marathon on skates the day before and this morning I ran 8k. As a warm up I ran from Marble Arch station to Hyde Park Corner where the skate congregates. Another kilometre clocked, increasing to the fatigue and anxiety I was feeling. Right now it was all too easy to just turn away but if I could pull this off it would give me a good motivational boost for Berlin. Of course if I fail it will go down the other way..
I checked the route prior the event and figured I'd know after the first kilometre whether or not I could hack this. The course was 7.5 mile round trip from Hyde Park up to Maida Vale and back. I've done this distance many times now but it was the pace of the skate that I wasn't sure about. Normally I run in heart rate zone 3 which results in a very chilled jog. This run however will definitely be pushing in to the higher intensity zones.
I started running behind the rear marshal as only skaters should be within the pack. Before long there were Bambi skaters slowing down and widening the gap in front. This didn't look good, with me close behind it was an accident waiting to happen. So I opted to jump on the pavements and run alongside the punters. I enjoyed the music which helped me pick up the pace and eventually I got to the front where they were waiting at the traffic lights. My running felt good, but the roundabout in front was quite hectic and it wouldn't be safe for me to continue running next to the skate. Therefore I ran ahead crossing safely, following the direction of the marshals.
The scout marshal which happened to be Alan today was really helpful. He'd point out the direction of the planned route whenever I caught up with him. It meant less sprinting and I could pace myself more consistently. Now I knew exactly what I had to do to complete this.
'This,' was tough.
My heart rate was up 20 bpm more than my usual training, yet not dissimilar to the last part of my Dublin half marathon two weeks ago.
Despite the lack of the main skate atmosphere it was fun having the banter of my marshal friends who thought I was insane. As Evren put it "I don't know why you would put yourself through something like this!" Theresa who got me into this run malarkey kept checking up on me whenever she whizzed past.
At half time I shoved down a protein bar into what must have been a glazed face, as I knew I had to do it all again in ten minutes. It was nice to know that my friend Chidi had been looking out for me during the first half of the event, as she did not see me shoot off ahead. She then did what she does best and threw some motivating cheers at me.
Round two. It didn't necessarily feel any easier or harder, just the same heavy load. Got to stay focussed and push on through. However after five minutes I had to slow down a little to take a few deep breathes to push a stitch aside. (Hello protein bar). Thankfully that subsided. Halfway around and my calf muscles started doing small cramps, I reduced the pace and managed to stretch them off at the next lights. Next up was the tightening of my chest, reminding me that my asthma has never quite gone. I knew I wouldn't be pushing any harder than this so I could bear this inconvenience, but with the heavier breathing. (Some people pay good money for this, www.respibelt.com). The inhaler was at my side but thankfully I had the upper hand and didn't need it.
Throughout the run it felt like I was being chased by a big boulder. A boulder of endorphin injected skaters high on sunshine and funky beats. As we came close the finish I must have been slowing down or the boulder must have sped up. I could hear the thumping bass from the Asbox fleet just behind me. At this point I welcomed every vehicle that would pull out in front of us, even our good friends of the taxi variety.
Park Lane. Half a mile to go. As the skate pack regrouped I ran on ahead. One final dash.
There was an enormous sense of relief as I stepped back into Hyde Park. However I could feel my heart drop as Theresa then suggested the Flemming pub. It was like almost catching the carrot and having her throw it 2k away! Run rabbit run.
It's only upon reviewing my Polar M400 stats that I realise why today felt so intense. My training has so far been sitting at a steady average of 6 min/km. The stats for today have been on occasion a whole minute faster. As you can see from the graph below I did have rest points as I waited at traffic lights for around 30 seconds to a minute or two. Good interval training!
At times it really was pushing me and as I bath in self satisfaction I feel compelled to do this again. My masochistic tendencies say I'll be thankful to do it at least once more before Berlin.
22.89k clocked today.
Below are the stats of my pace in minutes per km.
I've done a rough break down of the average pace of each intervals.
1st Half average splits:
4:00 @ 5:01 min/km
0:42 @ 4:51 min/km
1:17 @ 5.34 min/km
2:17 @ 4:37 min/km
1:46 @ 5:48 min/km
1:46 @ 5:59 min/km
7:06 @ 5:40 min/km
4:13 @ 5:12 min/km
1:47 @ 5:43 min/km
2:20 @ 5:32 min/km
2nd Half average splits:
7:44 @ 5:27 min/km
0:30 @ 5:33 min/km
1:41 @ 5:22 min/km
1:45 @ 6:22 min/km
4:40 @ 5:42 min/km
2:17 @ 6:01 min/km
1:04 @ 5:02 min/km
3:37 @ 5:18 min/km
1:48 @ 4:52 min/km
1:45 @ 4:30 min/km
"Any tips, reviews and advice are my own opinions and are not to be taken as professional view points. The information on this site is what has worked for me and is here for guidance only, but I hope you gain insight into the various activities I partake in." Jonathan Chen